Apple and Google are giving us a peek into the future. But this time, it's not the next generation of iPhone or cutting-edge search engine. It's their futuristic office buildings.
New corporate headquarters are in the works for both Apple and Google. For a quick visual of each, think biodome for Google and the space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey for Apple.
Construction is already underway for Apple's Campus 2 in Cupertino, a four-story spaceship-equse building that will house 13,000 employees. Google just released updated plan for their new campus in Mountain View that looks more like a giant tent city rather than an office complex. They're hoping to get this 600,000 square foot proposal approved so they can get to work on construction.
Unlike the existing Apple and Google campus, these are not old buildings retrofitted for the present day. Both companies brought in best-in-class architects to concept new designs from scratch and break new ground. That means they had to design offices that in a way, had to predict the future.
Though the finished campuses will look wildly different from one another, both proposals share design elements and concepts. Apple and Google seem to be on the same page about how they anticipate to support the next generation of tech workers. What's more, their campuses also reflect a new way of life for us all.
1. Prediction: Cars will not be part of our future
At present, thousands of employees drive to work at Google and Apple every single day. Parking lots are a must. That will likely continue to be the case in the coming years. But perhaps not forever.
Both tech giants have chosen to hide cars from view with massive underground parking garages. Neither organization wants a sea of parking lots mucking up their beautiful campuses.
This also hints to how Apple and Google anticipate transportation will evolve. By tucking parking out of sight -- and to space that could perhaps be re-purposed for something else down the line -- Apple and Google have not defined their campuses by present-day transportation.
Instead, they're more prepared for whatever the transportation of the future may be.
2. Planet: It's time to prioritize nature
Environmental responsibility is a defining element in both designs. The measures Apple and Google take in their designs go beyond environmental friendliness. Access to nature is a key element to both. It's almost as if Google and Apple are competing the "greenest tech giant" award.
Apple is projecting Campus 2 to be "the greenest building on the planet." According to Apple's own environmental responsibility page, their new mega-complex will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy and is designed to provide natural ventilation for 75 percent of the year. They boast 7,000 trees and 80 percent of the complex will be open space. Remember, the campus is a giant ring. The center is entirely green space that's always nearly always visible, no matter where you are in the building.
Google's proposal also incorporates nature. "Google's presence in Mountain View is simply so strong that it can't be the fortress that shuts away nature," said architect Bjarke Ingels when the company announced the first iteration of the design last year. The proposal blurs the lines between the interior and exterior. Google says the sloping tent-like canopies would regulate climate, pollution and sound. Lastly, a star feature of the new campus is the Green Loop, path for pedestrians and bikers that's covered by a solar canopy to collects energy and protects people from rain.
3. Philosophy: An innovative future is inspired by our past
Countless publications have commented on the utopian nature of both Apple and Google's new designs. "It may sound unlikely, but there is in fact a strong connection between the utopian movements of the '60s and the tech industry," wrote Nikil Saval for the New York Times Magazine.
The hard lines and right angles of present-day office buildings are out. Communal workspaces and curved architecture are in. These ideas and design concepts are hardly new. They reach back to an area when people embraced community.
As our lives become ever-more digital and the lines between public and private life blend, Apple and Google are embracing a future where people are more open and less restricted.